Someone who is chosen to oversee a person’s affairs should they need help or when they can’t do it themselves is usually chosen because that person is trusted. In British Columbia, there have been instances, however, when someone who has been named power of attorney has abused that trust and has done things that could be considered fraudulent. There are things that can be done if abuse is suspected.
Abusing the position of power of attorney is tantamount to bullying. Problems sometimes happen because there are very few areas without the position concerning accountability and transparency. When issues arise, they tend to create rifts in families, not only from a legal aspect, but in personal ways. In fact, it is because of the personal nature of the fraudulent behaviour, very few cases of power of attorney abuse are reported to the authorities.
If family members do suspect someone who holds a power of attorney is abusing the office, there are some things to consider doing. Getting legal advice would be paramount. Another wise idea may be to have two rather than one power of attorney. That would provide some checks and balances. Another thing to consider is that perhaps children don’t always make the best power of attorney, unless they’re somewhat financially savvy and trustworthy.
A British Columbia lawyer who has experience with wills and estates law will be able to guide his or her clients on the legalities of a power of attorney. It is important to plan for the future and a lawyer can help ensure things are handled as they should be. A lawyer will make sure all documents regarding a power of attorney are in accordance with the law.
Source: cbc.ca, “Power-of-attorney abuse more common than we think, expert says“, Accessed on Sept. 25, 2017